Walsingham's Washington, WCA's Chillers named top Gazette hoops players

Contact Reporterkholtzman@vagazette.com

The student athletes receiving the 2016 Virginia Gazette top honors in boys and girls basketball, both Division I recruits, are particularly different in at least one important respect.

The Gazette girls player of the year, senior Charnissa Chillers of Williamsburg Christian Academy, didn't have eye-popping stats; she didn't even lead her team in scoring.

The numbers don't tell the whole story for Chillers, but they do more so for Walsingham Academy senior Richard Washington, the offensively prolific Gazette boys player of the year.

Chillers

When the final buzzer sounded on the Williamsburg Christian Academy girls basketball season, senior Chillers was upset she didn't do more to propel her team to a win, that she didn't make more buckets under the basketball or all of her free throws.

It was an admirable performance nonetheless with Chillers tallying 21 points and 11 rebounds in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III semifinal, playing the final four and a half minutes of the 63-58 defeat to Richmond Christian with four fouls along with a few of her teammates.

For her to be upset, "that just tells you what kind of a player she is," WCA coach Scott Jones said.

Chillers, a Radford University recruit, was the VISAA Division III and Metro Conference girls player of the year.

She finished the season averaging 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists and often played out of position down low and sat out the latter part of some of WCA's lopsided victories. The Eagles rolled to an unbeaten conference season.

Her junior teammate, junior Armani Franklin, tallied 16.5 points per game.

Most nights that she played, though, Chillers was the best player on the floor with a good combination of aggressiveness and athleticism.

"I think she's a solid player," Jones said of Chillers. "She can shoot the 3. She can drive it and pass. She can do everything well. She jumps. She's just a good, solid player that can play any position."

Washington

The left-handed, 6-foot-6 Wake Forest signee was a threat to go for 30 points about every night and finished the season averaging 22.8 points to go along with 6.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.2 steals.

Worthy of mention are the two Williamsburg Christian Academy players Washington very narrowly edged for the honor, senior Xavier Green and junior Cle'von Greene. Green, an Old Dominion recruit, averaged 15 points and 8.4 rebounds on his way to garnering VISAA Division III and Metro Conference player of the year honors while Greene put up 18.0 points and 6.2 rebounds. Green and Greene had impressive numbers on a deep Eagles team that played a brutal nonconference schedule.

Walsingham had a pretty tough slate, too, in and out of the Tidewater Conference.

Washington made the VISAA Division II first team, but top honors went to Kentucky recruit Sacha Killeya-Jones of Virginia Episcopal.

Veteran Walsingham coach Billy Barnes said all season Washington, who picked up 17 total offers from colleges, was as offensively skilled a player as he's ever coached and Washington became Barnes' first ACC recruit when he signed with the Demon Deacons in the fall.

Washington said the Wake coaches told him they wanted him because he was a long player that could create his shot and score.

Inexperienced and lacking depth, the Trojans relied on Washington much more than they did his junior season after he transferred from Menchville.

His senior season, Washington had to be more of a floor general.

"My job was to kind of be a leader," Washington said, "be somebody that they can learn from because they're not going to get it right away."

Washington scored 34 in his finale with Walsingham, a dramatic double-overtime loss to Miller School in the first round of the state tournament. He scored 15 of Walsingham's final 16 points including a 3-pointer that cut Miller School's lead in double overtime to 66-64 with 20.2 seconds left.

"With the young guys we had, we didn't have as much success," Washington said, "but I think overall, we still had a pretty decent season. I've enjoyed my time."

Holtzman can be reached by phone at 757-298-5830.

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